Guardians of the orthodoxy

Dalrymple notes that outrage,

especially when it is experienced in the context of an abstract cause, is pleasing to us, or at least to a great and perhaps increasing number of us.

No one will have failed to notice, he says,

the rapidity with which the morally unthinkable these days becomes the acceptable and then, very soon afterwards, the unassailable. Once the formerly unthinkable becomes the unassailable, outrage is expressed by the guardians of the orthodoxy when the unassailable is in fact assailed by people who are deemed not merely mistaken in their views, but wicked or evil.

The unassailability of the new orthodoxy

inhibits free discussion, for while most people like to feel outrage, few people like to be the object of it, except perhaps a few exhibitionists who enjoy notoriety for its own sake. Most people keep their heads below the parapet, not wishing to draw the fire of the defenders of the new faith.

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